On Tue, 7 Aug 2007, David Artman wrote:
One can patent a design; one can copyright a name; one can even patent a rules mechanic
You can _trademark_ names, you can _copyright_ the expression of (but not the concepts presented in) your rules and artwork; and I've always been a bit dubious of how well the patent for Magic would have held up if it was challenged in court, since generally game mechanics haven't been patented.
The pieces themselves I think would actually have a very limited amount of legal protection, if any; so if someone wanted to start making and selling their own plastic pyramids, they probably could and there's not much LL could do about it, as long as you didn't use the (trademarked) words Icehouse, Treehouse, or anything similar. So hey, all you monochrome stash lovers; here's your answer; go into business for yourself, if you think you can make a living off of it (and good luck with that, kiddos).
(Consider Lego: other companies sell little snap-together plastic bricks, and at lower costs, too! Lego still sells though, but only because they are higher quality (those other bricks tend to fall apart, or break, more easily) and because they keep coming up with new innovations and tie-in products.)
-- Dale Sheldon dales@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Also not a lawyer, but intellectual property is a bit of a hobby of mine.